A play-by-play of a Major Sports League’s innovative use of Online Qual.
The client was a major sports league, who broadcasts games to millions of viewers weekly, broadcasting games on major national networks. To maintain high status, they must constantly refine their offering in an effort to improve viewer experience in the extremely competitive professional sports market. They also continue to look for new opportunities for advertisers and sponsors to expose their products to this fan base. Understanding the impact on viewer experience when making changes to their product, even for something seemingly minor like adjusting or adding camera angles, is critically important to refining their product and ensuring continued success.
Changes to TV viewer experience come with a cost. While willing to test multiple options, it was critically important to the Client that they understood the impact of those changes so that they could make educated decisions on which options to keep and which to discontinue. As any viewer of live sports knows, there’s nothing like watching the game live, as it happens, knowing that you’re experiencing it along with the players. The Client wanted a way for fans to experience these enhancements in the actual live event as opposed to recorded viewings knowing that participants would likely know the outcome of the game, possibly influencing their opinions. They needed a way to gain viewer feedback during the live games in an experience in which it was easy for the fan to participate, that didn’t interrupt the game itself, and which allowed multiple fans to give feedback at the same time.
The Client approached Magid Research, a well-known leader in Sports Research with this challenge. Magid understood their methodology must satisfy a number of criteria in order to protect the integrity of the research.
1) They must provide a viewing environment where the participant can watch the game and yet easily participate in the research.
2) The viewing experience must meet quality standards typical to how the game is normally viewed (i.e., HD quality video).
3) They needed to offer a client experience where the Client could actively participate and view the research live as it was being collected during the game.
4) They needed a mechanism for the researcher to quickly deploy questions and garner feedback in a fast-paced environment where enhancements being tested may only be on screen for a few seconds.
5) They needed to choose an option that allowed for quick turnaround of results.
Magid chose to partner with itracks, a leading technology provider in advance methods of online research to provide the platform to conduct the research. Magid identified this project as being a perfect use for itracks Live, a revolutionary research product which allows participants to view a live stream of HD video feeds, while interacting and providing feedback to the moderator running the group. itracks Live is powered by itracks’ industry-leading text chat platform, so it includes all of the research-specific features you need – polling, immediate transcription, uninfluenced question modes, and more – plus the ability to provide stimuli in the form of live stream events like a live sporting event.
Twenty participants were recruited for each of 4 games on the opening week schedule. Participants logged into the software in advance of the game and also accessed the live event from within the software. The game was broadcast within an in-app frame and questions were posed by the moderator in a separate chat frame. This allowed the participant to view the game unencumbered while also responding to questions posed by the moderator.
Pre-planned questions were programmed into the moderator guide so that when the testing event took place, they could quickly be posted in order to garner immediate feedback. This also left the moderator more time for deeper, probing questions that could not be anticipated in the planning stage.
Representatives of the client were able to be included via a private virtual back room, where they could communicate with each other as well as the moderator without disrupting the experience of the participants.